The high incidence of ADHD (and other problems)

As I mentioned in my earlier article on schools, one of the problems facing schools in many countries is the high, I would say pandemic, occurrence of ADHD, autism, Aspergers and PTSD, this last almost exclusively amongst immigrant children.  What is the reason for these psychological disturbances?

The hypothesis proposed by those in power is that it has always been so, but that diagnostic methods were not available until much more recently.  Ask anyone over the age of sixty, and they will give you their opinion of this hypothesis.  It is bullshit.  I am nearly seventy-five, and in my young days, yes, there was often a person in my class who was a little too outgoing, prone to disturb the peace of the classroom to the detriment of everyone's education.  Such people were sat upon by the teaching staff - not literally, of course, but they were given very short rope for their disturbing behaviour.

Another hypothesis is the exposure of today's children to what may be called 'screen time', to describe television, smartphones, iPads and the like, and other forms of on-line activity, which are all designed for those with a limited concentration ability - what has been called the three minute attention span.  This may be a valid hypothesis, but only for the last few years.  

It is my admittedly subjective opinion that the problem has been growing longer than the existence of smartphones.  I have long suspected the increasing use of chemicals in our environment.  Sixty years ago fly spray was almost unheard of.  There were no sprays to make the toilet smell fresher.  Different medicines tasted differently, especially those intended for children, and the number of side effects were so small that the little booklets which come with every medicine nowadays did not exist.  Foods, beer and wine did not have traces of Roundup.

One aspect of these changes which we see about us and which has always surprised me is that research has not been directed to finding out why we are seeing these behavioural changes but instead attention is paid to how to alleviate the problems they cause.  No-one wants to find out why ADHD is now pandemic.  There is no money in that  They merely want to find medicines which make the problem manageable.

my hypothesis has recently received rather more than notional support with the televising of two short articles on local television, and with the publication in January 2019 of articles in British "The Sun" newspaper - admittedly not the most reliable of sources, "The Daily Mail" and "The Telegraph".

The television articles involved research into methods of cleaning water before its release into the environment.  Apparently a part of the process makes use of bacteria to absorb some of the alien chemicals in the water being processed.  As I understand it, the bacterial process normally used removes about half of the alien chemicals.  Researchers at two of Sweden's universities have now added algae to the mix, with the result that the alien chemicals have been reduced not by 50% but by 75%.  In other words, 25% remain.  The chemicals are found in all humans.

One of the pieces of evidence for the effect of these remaining chemicals was the changing behaviour of fish from shy to bold.  I have also seen reports of disturbances in sexual behaviour in fish, though I am not now able to cite the source of this information.

But the most significant statement in these two news items was a throw-away by one of the interviewees.  He said that even in new-born babies chemicals can be found which should not be there.

The newspaper reports concern the incidence of sexual disturbance in our time.  These are the headlines:

Children as young as 10 are changing their gender by deed poll (The Sun and The Daily Mail)

Number of children being referred to gender identity clinics has quadrupled in five years (The Telegraph)

Now children of ten years are not sexually mature and yet are reacting to a perceived inconsistency between their dress and other sexually determined characteristics and their emotionally experienced sexuality.

I think it is significant that the researchers in the television news reports were fighting to get more financial support to continue their work, which indicates that support was not forthcoming.  I can believe it.  Think how many companies would see their bottom lines affected if it came to light that many of the products we now use in our everyday life and have been using for decades were causing the behavioural changes we are seeing in society.

Today I heard a comment on morning television, in connection with the pollen report which is now a part of the weather report, another throw-away phrase, about the number of people, especially children, who suffer from pollen allergy, and many of whom also have other allergies.  [my emphasis]

Yesterday on morning television there was an interview with a person responsible for the service for psychiatrically disturbed children, who was asked why it took so long for a doctor's referral to result in a first consultation.  After pointing out that the service was not dimensioned to cater for the numbers now requiring it, the interviewee said that she was hoping that they would be able to research into the causes of this exponential increase.

Somehow I doubt that she will receive financing for such research.  The Powers That Be are probably scared of what such research might uncover.


© James Wilde 2015